Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Cerebral Palsy and Medical Mistakes
Cerebral Palsy: Types and Treatments
Cerebral palsy is a disease resulting from irregular development of, or injury to, a baby’s brain while in the womb, during the birthing process, shortly after birth, or in the first couple years of life as the brain is still developing. It is important that parents just learning about this condition get as much information as they can. Knowing how your child may be affected, and what you may do to improve his or her quality of life, is a good starting point.
There are varying types of cerebral palsy, as well as different ways in which patients may be treated:
- Spastic – Stiff and jerky movements are inherent in the most common form of the disease. Tightness in the muscles makes it very hard for the sufferer to control movements. Treatment may include medication or rehabilitative therapies. Surgery may be recommended to help with the spasticity.
- Athetoid – Child’s movement may be shaky and unsteady. They may suffer from uncontrolled, unwanted and involuntary movements. Children may have difficulty exercising his or her fine motor skills, swallowing, and speaking clearly. Additionally, torso control and posture may be hard to maintain. Treatment varies depending on symptoms. Physical therapy to strengthen daily range of motion and speech therapy to assist with communication is common.
- Ataxic – Individual may struggle with coordination and depth perception. Intention tremors may be present. As a child focuses on a specific movement, the arm, hand, leg or foot may shake with increasing intensity.
Diagnosis usually means life-long care. Outlining a life care plan is essential. It may help you to recognize which professionals you may need, and how much time and money may be required.
Medical Mistakes Leading to Cerebral Palsy
Most cases of cerebral palsy are the result of events that take place before the birthing process begins. Maternal infections during pregnancy may contribute in some cases, while genetic mutations may be to blame in others. Problems with blood supply or insufficient oxygen in the womb may lead to this disease as well. Other cases may be acquired after birth through head injuries, or other injuries affecting the brain, including meningitis.
In some cases, asphyxia (lack of oxygen) during labor and delivery, particularly during a difficult birthing process, may be the cause. While some of these cases may not be the fault of the medical professionals performing the birth, certain incidents may contribute and may be classified as medical malpractice, including:
- improper use of forceps during assisted birth;
- improper use of vacuum extraction during assisted birth;
- failing to properly respond to situations in which there is a lack of oxygen to a baby left in the birth canal for an extended period;
- not preparing for or performing a C-section when conditions call for it; and
- failing to properly treat jaundice or other medical conditions, such as meningitis, after birth.
Risk factors for the disease include premature birth, low birth weight, breech birth, and certain maternal medical conditions during pregnancy.